Confusing, how the landscape stumbles— there is sky beyond this sky, a backyard of chickens, a broken dog. Ambition, like green fields, slows upon autumns and the few ancient trucks. Work earth, plow and hoe, bent over the soil again. Years of this sameness. Years of the white sun.
To marry a girl was the one thing. The other, talk—long into nights out past the river. Sometimes three of us found ourselves there. We shared what we had, even failures we’d carried in our coats. In that certain dark, nothing but compassionate days, when our tilling turned the ground to wider orbits, to order.
A village closes upon itself. The road’s rise toward Copsa Mare is the firm hand urging. Doorways are boundaries children learn to respect. Someone, born to it, swells within his father’s isolation, painting his barn a fierce yellow. Hay in the lofts. I know how surely we fall to ourselves in this world.
Michael Izbicki grew up in a nondenominational church in California. A National Merit Scholarship finalist, he chose to go to the U.S. Naval Academy out of a sense of duty to his country during a time of war. At the naval academy he began to doubt whether the career to which he had committed himself could be squared with the tenets of just war doctrine. He got in trouble when he responded no to this exam question: "If given the order, would you launch a missile carrying a nuclear warhead?" After a four-year legal battle, the navy discharged him as a conscientious objector. Izbicki may have to reimburse the service for part or all of his education (New York Times, February 22).